Chicken and champagne risotto

Champagne risottoIf you’re looking for an amazing recipe to impress with or for a special dinner, you can’t go too far wrong with our chicken and champagne risotto, which is literally seeped in great flavour to create an instant impact in that first mouthful. As with all risotto recipes, you will inevitably need to work a good amount of stirring action to get the creamy finish all good risotto had, but it’ll be well worth it when you get to tuck into the dish.

Allow around 35 minutes to finish the dish and prepare yourself to be in full cook mode for the duration, so you might want to get yourself a glass of wine and put some music on to help make the cooking time fly a little better. The ingredients below have been put together for a meal for two, but it’s easy enough to increase your serving by adding half again per person you’ve got on your invite list. 75g is about right as a good portion of risotto rice, but if you want bigger plates just throw in an extra ten grammes or so per person to bulk it out a little.

The key to the dish is the vigorous stirring of the rice while you’re cooking, but equally the combination of lemon, chicken, thyme and champagne taste great together. There isn’t an ingredient on the list that could be skipped in our chicken and champagne risotto recipe, with the possible exception of the Parmesan you can grate over the top at the end, and roasting the chicken fillets in the oven with a little oil will make them much more succulent than if you cook them in the pan itself.

Ingredients (serves 2):

• 150g arborio risotto rice
• 250g chicken fillets
• 1 pint chicken stock
• 1 small onion finely chopped
• 1 leek chopped
• 2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
• 1 red pepper chopped
• 4 large mushroom chopped
• A scattering of dry Italian mixed herbs
• 1tsp of finely chopped fresh thyme
• 1/2 lemon
• A glass of champagne, cava or prossecco
• A good few of pinches of salt and pepper to season well
• Olive oil
• A little grated Parmesan cheese to taste (optional)

Chicken and champagne risotto recipe instructions:

1. In a large frying pan or wok add a glug of olive oil and cook the onion and arborio rice together for a few minutes over a medium to high heat. This is the first step in all risotto recipes as it helps to crack the outer layer of the rice to allow it to absorb the stock better and it starts a little caramelisation in the onions to add to the taste of the dish.

2. Pour in your first trickle of chicken stock and begin the pour and stir process. As the first of the stock is starting to absorb, add the pepper, garlic and leek to the pan and continue to stir through with as much wellie as you’ve got in you.

3. Add in the second batch of the stock (just a little splash each time will be fine), along with the chopped mushrooms and stir thoroughly before turning your attention to the chicken. For this, just place your chicken fillets in a baking tray with a little olive oils drizzled, season with salt and pepper and throw them into the oven on 200 degrees Celsius (390 degrees Fahrenheit), before going back to the stock pour and stir process.

4. During the third cycle add in the mixed herbs, salt & pepper to season and thyme and then go back to ploughing through the stock as the rice begins to cook, absorb moisture and expand.

5. The chicken will need approximately 20 minutes in the oven while you’re stirring away (probably best to set an alarm for this, just in case), which should coincide with the risotto rice absorbing the last of the stock. If this finishes before the chicken’s had enough time to cook, just take the rice off the heat to let it catch up. When it’s had 20mins, take the chicken out of the oven, slice the fillets into small chunks on a chopping board and add them to the pan.

6. Now it’s time for the champagne to take over where the stock finished. However, instead of adding it in a little at a time, pour in the glass in its entirety and get stirring your way to the finish. It won’t take too long and what you’ll be left with is a nice, creamy texture to your risotto dish.

7. The last recipe instruction to follow is to squeeze half a lemon over the top before stirring through one last time and serving in the centre of a plate or bowl in a neat mound. If you want to you can grate a little Parmesan cheese over each if you’re a bit of a traditionalist, but in all fairness our chicken and champagne risotto recipe tastes amazing without it.